What Took So Long to Get Greg Ward on the Field?
Wide receiver Greg Ward has been on the Eagles practice squad the past three years, played in the now-defunct AAF for the San Antonio Commanders and has never appeared in a NFL until this season.
He was quarterback in college at the University of Houston, but was the only wide receiver on the Eagles roster to catch a pass in yesterday's win over the Redskins, catching 7-of-9 targets for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Head coach Doug Pederson isn't surprised by Ward's recent contributions, saying “Greg has just made his impact here the last couple of weeks.”
Ward played his best during the Eagles game-winning drive catching a fade in the corner of the end-zone, completing the drive with four receptions for 40 yards and his first touchdown of his NFL career, which was the game-winning score.
In five games this season, Ward has already has 18 catches for 140 yards and one touchdown. Meanwhile in 12 games this season with the Eagles, Mack Hollins had just 10 catches for 125 yards before being released. Second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has just eight receptions for 130 yards and one score in 14 games, and was held without a catch on Sunday.
So what took so long to get Ward on the field?
"I think on the inside, we know the type of player that Greg Ward is, because we've seen it day-in, day-out," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said on Monday.
"It’s a little bit of a tricky situation, because as you're trying to construct your roster for each game, he was on practice squad to start the year and you're trying to maybe – “Ah, is this the week that we can get him up?” And then there might be an injury in the game that we have to make a move and bring somebody else in a spot maybe on the defensive side or the offensive side or whatever it is, and it just didn't work out until here in the last three, four games."
"We're excited that obviously had a chance to bring him up. We know the type of player he is, and he's proven that on the field."
Ward has shown he can move-the-chains, and be relied on to catch the football when thrown his way, something that Eagles wide receivers have had issues with all season. If anything, he adds intrigue as Pederson searches for weapons to help his injured plagued offense.
After playing 49 games at quarterback for the Cougars, throwing for 8,704 yards, 52 touchdowns and 39 rushing touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound college quarterback switched to wide receiver, and learned the craft during Eagles training camps, using his ability to read defenses and athletic ability to stay around on the Eagles practice squad.
On Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, he will enter the game as the Eagles best wide receiver.